The Nethelands squad for their upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Poland and Italy was announced on Friday with Owen Wijndal, Perr Schuurs and Mohamed Ihattaren all earning their first call-ups. Michael Bell profiles the three talents looking to make their Oranje debut.

Owen Wijndal

It has been an excellent year for the 20-year-old left-back, who not only permanently broke into the AZ Alkmaar first eleven but has now earned his first national team call-up.

The youngster has been highly regarded in the AZ academy for years, and last summer Arne Slot made him the club’s first choice at left-back ahead of Thomas Ouwejan. Wijndal excelled as AZ finished the season level on points with Ajax at the top with the defender contributing seven assists and a goal.

Wijndal is a talented full-back, who is excellent defensively but also great on the ball and he loves to drive forward and overlap on the wings.

With Daley Blind out of the games against Poland and Italy, Wijndal could grab his opportunity to show that he can be an option to start at left-back. He is possibly battling Nathan Ake for a slot on the left but will surely make his debut during the two games.

Perr Schuurs

After impressing for Ajax in pre-season, Perr Schuurs has earned his first call-up for the national team to replace the injured Matthijs de Ligt.

Schuurs made his debut for Fortuna Sittard at the age of 16 and starred for the Limburg side before making the move to Ajax in 2018. Last season, Schuurs was a permanent part of Erik ten Hag’s squad but only made 17 appearances with Daley Blind, Lisandro Martinez, Joel Veltman, and Edson Alvarez picked ahead of him at times.

However, Schuurs has looked great for Ajax during pre-season and impressed the watching Dwight Lodeweges enough to earn his first Netherlands call-up.

Schuurs is a hugely talented centre-back with the potential to be a starting defender for Oranje within the next few years. His presence and leadership at Ajax is increasing, while he has excellent ability with the ball at his feet.

Virgil van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij, and Nathan Ake will battle it out for the two starting centre-back slots but the call-up will be a huge confidence boost for Schuurs, who should be a key player for Ajax this season. The two internationals are likely to be an excellent learning experience for Schuurs.

Mohamed Ihattaren

One of the brightest talents of his generation, Ihattaren has starred for PSV Eindhoven and now gets the chance to make his Netherlands debut.

Ihattaren has been destined for stardom for years and at the age of 17, he became a permanent part of PSV Eindhoven’s first team last season when Mark van Bommel made him a key player. The midfielder was a bright spark for PSV in a poor campaign, scoring seven goals and adding nine assists.

An attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wings, Ihattaren has all the attributes to become a world-class number 10. The 18-year-old has excellent technical ability for his age and can add some creativity and spark to the Netherlands midfield. Lodeweges may also decide to deploy him on the right-wing, where he can use his dribbling ability to devastating effect.

Ihattaren is certain to make his Netherlands debut against either Poland or Italy as the KNVB look to tie the youngster down. Earlier this year, he confirmed he would choose Oranje over Morocco, but until its confirmed the KNVB will fear a Hakim Ziyech situation.

The youngster is expected to be a star in Oranje for years to come and the games next month are just the beginning. Ihattaren’s debut could be one to remember.




admin (9322 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter